Policeman in 1940s uniform, photographed at
Brooklands 1940s day.
Note that the strap of the helmet went above rather
than below the chin, which was to prevent the helmet being pulled
backwards as a strangling device.
After the end of World War Two and into the 1950s policemen were common sights on the streets.
This had been so for many years, with the exception of the war years, not only as described in the
early 1900s, but also for many years before.
However it was to change later in the century, which makes it worth describing here.
Detail showing policeman's whistle.
While I was still young in the late 1940s and early 1950s, policemen walked alone on their beats rather than in pairs, and I understand that they
still communicated with one another by blowing their special police
There were always so many policemen walking their individual beats
in built-up areas that any one of them would always be in earshot of another's whistle. I never
saw or heard a policeman blowing a whistle because I was never anywhere near
a crime scene.
Policeman always seemed to be around when my
mother took me out and we needed directions. However, I don't remember
particular policemen staying with particular communities, although I lived
in a town. It must have been different in rural areas.
A true story of 'on the beat'
On night patrol, a policeman needed to relieve himself,
and so went off beat down an alleyway, and while so engaged noticed a man
breaking into a local property. He then waited for the man to come
out, and promptly nicked (arrested) him. The policeman was of course praised
for this arrest. However the sergeant wanted to know why the arrest took
place off of the policeman's beat. The reply was that having seen the man
acting suspiciously the policeman had followed him to the scene of the
as told by the policeman to Iris and Mark Bailey
This website Join me in the 1900s is a contribution to the social history of everyday life in early to mid 20th century Britain, seen through personal recollections and illustrations, with the emphasis on what it was like to live in those times. It is © Pat Cryer.